As a single mother who travels full time, the most common question I get is “how do you afford it?” While I’m happy to share my own story, I think the answer everyone is looking for is how can THEY do it. While I love making videos (if you don’t know what I’m referring to check out my TikTok!), this topic is nearly impossible to cover in three minutes and I would love to help as many people as I can to achieve their dreams of traveling full time. I always say anyone can do it, but people assume that means I’m saying it’s easy, but that’s not what I’m saying: it is challenging, it takes commitment, it takes open mindedness, it takes willingness to change, but if you can navigate the challenges, you can travel full time!
All of our stories will be different because we are all starting our story with different resources and levels of support. Some people have people that can build out a custom van with them, some people have a family member who let them use their RV, some people have jobs that will allow them to work remotely, and some people will embark on this journey with very little resources. If you are one of those with little resources, don’t fret, you can travel full time, however you may need to be more flexible and patient than someone who had resources available to them.
I am going to start this out by saying I am NOT a financial advisor. There are thousands of resources dedicated to making money, budgeting, and becoming financially independent. My blog is not one of them. However, I do want to share the resources I found help and suggest some possible paths that could work for others.
My Favorite Resources
(If you’re serious about this lifestyle and financial independence seriously just read the book).
Before I knew or had decided I wanted to travel full time, I knew I wanted to be financially independent and be able to stay home with my children. When I became pregnant with my first daughter, I was working 60+ hours a week as a teacher in a toddler classroom at the University of California Santa Cruz. We lived in a bedroom of the house my father-in-law rented out so we could save money for a down payment on a home. By the time I was 7 months pregnant, we were buying our home! We had timed everything to a tee so that I could go on maternity leave as we moved into the house (although life had other plans and I slipped two discs in my back and had to go on disability before going on maternity leave). The house we chose was with the intention of making a profit – the basement had been turned into a separate living quarters with its own entrance so we could rent or Airbnb the space for extra income (which we did for years). We also made sure to buy in an area where housing prices were on the rise. When my baby was born, I was just finishing my masters degree. In fact, I took my finals online while she laid in my lap two days after giving birth. I knew I wanted to stay in the field of child development and motherhood, but I was set on staying home with my baby. I started by being a nanny and watched other littles while I was at home with mine. After finding that challenging with low pay, I decided to start a parenting coaching business. I created a website, coached some local classes, and worked with some parents, but my passion was with creating content and resources for others so I focused on that which eventually became profitable!
I am not fully financially independent with a multitude of income streams from Pinterest, a self published book, affiliates, and more. [learn how here].
My story on building my finances to travel full time starts years ago by living in a way that saved money and prevented debt and slowly built independent income streams, but each one of us will have our own story of how we made this lifestyle work! It doesn’t mean you have to invest years into your transition into a lifestyle of travel!
Your work history and resources are the first things to consider for your income options. For example, do you have a skill that can be transferred to an online job? If you were in the education field you could teach English online, tutor online, or create educational resources to sell online. If you were a fitness coach could you transition this to online? There are so many pre-existing skills that can be used to fund your nomadic life!
For myself, I turned my parent coaching and years in the child development field into creating online support, a blog, and providing online content. (You can find my first blog here).
The quickest and easiest travel jobs I suggest are doordash and instacart! You can make plenty of money in nearly any city without prior experience!
What about start up costs?
My suggestion is to live below your means. For example, when we bought our home, we rented it out and lived in a cheaper area as well as lived in a camper trailer. At one point we lived in the studio basement of the house with two kids while renting out the house to save money. Whatever this may mean for you, living below your means can help you set some money aside for your vehicle or travels. Van Life can be very cheap but I always suggest having a savings or an emergency credit card on had because issues, such as a transmission going out, can arise.
I personally recommend buying a cheap, older van cash, but financing a van is also a good option. After all, it’s still cheaper to pay a monthly payment on the vehicle than to pay rent!
If you have a house full of things, time for a sale! Selling lots of your things can also help you set aside money for your travels!
Everyone’s story will be different. Find what path makes the most sense for you and start taking little steps to make it a reality.
You may also like What is Unschooling? or Easy & Healthy Ways To Start Living More Sustainable.